Stories /

Scholarship Spotlight: Tim Hsu



August 07, 2009


Tim HsuWe thank Irena Chalmers, author of Food Jobs: 150 Great Jobs for Culinary Students, Career Changers and Food Lovers, for this remarkable essay about Tim Hsu, who won a scholarship from Chicago's Spring Restaurant (the funds were generated by a Friends of James Beard Benefit hosted by the restaurant). Hsu, the son of Chinese immigrants, once faced a maddening decision: pursue a secure, respectable career as a doctor, or follow his passion for food and become a chef. Hsu gravitated toward food during his college years, reaching for a cookbook instead of his MCAT prep textbooks time after time: Unbeknownst to his parents, who lived far away in China, Tim had been dabbling in the kitchen during his college years, and found himself watching the Food Network channel almost religiously. He loved food and cooking—so much so that the night before he was to take the MCAT (the SAT for medical school), he had a mental breakdown; instead of studying, he filled out an online application to the CIA (Culinary Institute of America). He never submitted it. Read on to see how Tim eventually arrived at his decision to attend culinary school, with a little help from mother nature.